The following comes from a Dec. 2 story posted on the Cardinal Newman Society website.
Among Catholic colleges and dioceses across the country there has been an apparent rise in the celebration of the Mass ad orientem, where the priest and congregation face the same direction, traditionally to the east. The Cardinal Newman Society spoke with chaplains from three colleges recommended in The Newman Guide about the Masses celebrated ad orientem on campus and what that type of worship brings to students.
At Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., the priest celebrates ad orientem during several weekly Masses—two in the Extraordinary form, as well as two in the Ordinary Form in English and one in Latin—College chaplain Father Stephen McGraw told the Newman Society….
Masses celebrated ad orientem give students “an opportunity to participate in liturgical prayer that leads them to contemplation,” said Father Hildebrand Garceau, chaplain at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif. “All are facing liturgical east in one movement of prayer and offering. It seems to aid greatly in reducing distractions and helping students to focus on the liturgical action of the most powerful prayer in the universe—the Holy Mass.”
At Thomas Aquinas, Masses are said each morning in the Extraordinary Form which gives the undergraduates a “reverent, quiet, contemplative Mass,” said Fr. Garceau. Most Saturdays, a Mass is also said in the Ordinary Form.
Father John Healy at the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, N.H., told the Society that Thomas More began to celebrate the Latin Mass ad orientem once a week on Fridays because of student demand. Students continue to tell him that the silence in the Mass “impresses them in a particular way” and is very helpful for them, he said.
Additionally, said Christendom’s Fr. McGraw, ad orientem worship “shows our communion with the Eastern Church, which for the most part celebrates the liturgy of the Eucharist ‘ad orientem.’” He also noted that the priests at Christendom have “expressed their appreciation” for the chance to celebrate these Masses for the students.
According to Fr. Healy, bishops in the dioceses that celebrate the Extraordinary Form say that a lot of the participation is from the younger generation. This gives hope for liturgy and Church tradition both in the present and in the future, he said. It is encouraging to see students appreciate the traditional forms of the Mass.
Ave Maria University, the College of Saint Mary Magdalen, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Holy Apostles College and Seminary, the University of St. Thomas-Houston and Wyoming Catholic College also offer Masses ad orientem.
To read the original story, click here.